What does your 2020 and 2021 look like?

Last year, the Journal of Healthcare Contracting asked supply chain executives, “What are you looking forward to in the next 12 to 18 months.” Here are just a few of their responses. Some of them will sound familiar to JHC readers; others may lie further out.

Integrating two legacy supply chains

Joel Prah, vice president of supply chain for Mercyhealth in Janesville, Wisconsin, and Rockford, Illinois, has a lot on his plate. “Key projects will center around the integration of our two legacy supply chains,” he said. “Mercy Health and Rockford Health came together in 2015, but we have been operating with two different ERP systems and two prime distributors. This year we will evaluate ERP systems, partnering with IT and Finance. After we make our decision, we will develop a strong implementation plan. I am also looking forward to selecting one med/surg distributor, freight management company and vendor credentialing supplier. Finally, we will be evaluating the opportunity to design and develop a centralized integrated service center for Mercyhealth.”

Reducing unnecessary variation

Michael Gray, system vice president and chief supply chain officer for SSM Health in St. Louis, told JHC he is looking forward to continuing to work systemwide with physician leaders and others to reduce unnecessary variation in vendors, products, and processes. “We should be able to measure which products are used where, and which products lead to favorable outcomes for the majority of patients. It’s exciting getting all these groups together. Rather than calling them ‘value analysis groups,’ I call them ‘solution groups.’”

A strategy for nutritional services

Herman Lovato, director of support services for Centura Health in Centennial, Colorado, said, “One of my goals over the next year is to … develop a successful strategy within nutritional services. I would like to support dieticians and nurses by developing lean processes, ensuring we get product to the patient floors, seeing that it’s well managed, making sure we have no issues with expiration dates. We can provide tools, and, they – as experts in the field – will determine how to use them.”

Investing in information systems

Adrienne Ainsworth, director of strategic sourcing for Advocate Aurora Health in Milwaukee, said that “as Advocate Aurora Health moves to a common EMR and ERP platform over the next year, our team will be able to better normalize disparate data and enrich our quality and cost-per-case tools, allowing for more transparency and enhancing clinical engagement. Investment in these tools helps supply chain champion evidence-based decision-making while optimizing total value, reflecting the needs of our patients and providers.”

Managing software as an asset

Jonathan Kempton, category leader, Intermountain Healthcare, Salt Lake City, Utah, said he is “excited about the opportunity to get more involved in developing our maturity in software asset management.” [“Software asset management” refers to the management and maintenance of a software license after a contract is signed, including staying in compliance with contract terms and realizing the full value of what has been purchased.] “I have been a part of the governance team, and feel there are a lot of improvements that the group is looking to make in our process and tools in the coming years. It is so helpful in supply chain to have good data to understand the needs of the organization and how to maximize the value of technology contracts. That is why I feel strongly about software asset management’s role as an input to supply chain.”

Pulling off a makeover

Ryan Rotar, executive director of supply chain, UNC Health Care, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, said, “Seldom does someone in supply chain leadership get the opportunity to build a system from the ground up. Often, you settle for incremental change. But a year from now, our supply chain will look 180 degrees different than it does today. I’m blessed to be a part of all these changes.”

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